Chicago Connection: Marilyn and Bob Kotalik

Bob Kotalik, former chief photographer for the Chicago Sun-Times, has died aged 87 in Arizona. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

This photo of Marilyn, during a promotional tour for Some Like it Hot at Chicago’s Ambassador East Hotel in March 1959, is believed to have been taken by Kotalik, according to an article in the Sun-Times, published on May 2nd, 1986.

Thanks to Fabienne Colas, creator of the Films of Marilyn Monroe Facebook page.

‘Some Like it Hot’ and the Censors

As part of its ‘Essential Movie Library‘ series, Los Angeles magazine explores how Some Like it Hot helped to bring down the National League of Decency, and why Marilyn’s presence has made it such an enduring classic:

“This is the best movie of the sound era’s greatest female star, her unsung skills as a comedienne plainly tethered to the same vulnerability, even instability, that undid her, her performance of  ‘I’m Through With Love’ more personal than anyone intended except maybe Monroe herself…The National League of Decency condemned this instant classic and almost immediately rendered itself obsolete; Kansas wouldn’t allow the film to be shown anywhere in the state, rendering Kansas obsolete too.”

Anna Strasberg Challenges Letter Sale

Marilyn at a benefit for the Actors Studio, 1961

Two months ago, I reported on the upcoming sale of a very personal, and rather sad letter, written by Marilyn to Lee Strasberg. The auction, held by Profiles in History, is due to take place tomorrow, May 30th.

However, Anna Strasberg – Lee’s widow, who has overseen his estate (and Marilyn’s, which he had inherited) for many years – has filed suit at Los Angeles Superior Court to have the item withdrawn from sale, claiming that last month, she discovered the letter was missing from her collection.

As I’ve said before, I don’t think such an intimate letter should be auctioned, out of respect for Marilyn. However, the letter’s provenance remains unclear. For more details, visit SWRNN.

UPDATEMrs Strasberg’s suit has been dismissed, according to SWRNN. Her attorney, Bradley Mancuso, said he would return to court with additional evidence.

‘Love, Marilyn’: A Fan Favourite

Artwork by Ned Piyadarakorn

Leslie Kasperowicz has reviewed Love, Marilyn for the Immortal Marilyn website.

Love, Marilyn is not the standard documentary.  It tells Marilyn’s story, yes, but not so much in a biographical sort of way.  It follows the general timeline of her life, including footage of Marilyn herself with her own words about those times.  But it isn’t a sensational, nitty-gritty type of look at her.

Love, Marilyn is honest about her problems, the struggles we all know she had.  It also makes it clear how hard she worked, how much she wanted to be loved and respected.  She is neither demonized nor canonized.  She is humanized.

This is the documentary that Marilyn deserves.”

Her Summer With Marilyn

In 1953, 21 year-old Alice Majcher was working at the Banff Springs Hotel as a chambermaid, and became good friends with a very famous guest – Marilyn Monroe. She shares her memories over at Banff Crag and (Interestingly, she has yet to see the film Marilyn was shooting – River of No Return.)

“‘She was very sweet and very quiet, very soft spoken and very friendly. She was lovely,’ McDonald recounts while sitting at breakfast on Sunday, May 19, the morning after the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel’s alumni gala celebrating the castle’s 125th anniversary.

The King City resident also describes how Monroe shared her chocolates with her when she came to tidy up Monroe’s room and one time, McDonald even modeled a pair of Monroe’s own shoes for the actress. (The shoes were too big, but McDonald said it didn’t matter.)

‘I just remember her being so demure and just a very sweet person. She treated me nicely, too.’

McDonald has a photo album dedicated to the summer of 1953, including some snaps from the set with leading actor Robert Mitchum and of a few bus boys from the hotel dressed as Mounties for a scene.”

Rare Footage: Marilyn on Crutches

Rare footage of Marilyn is hard to find: and colour film, all the more so. This 1953 home movie of Marilyn at an airport, during filming of River of No Return in Canada, accompanied by co-star Robert Mitchum, was posted to YouTube today by user SGTG77.

Marilyn had sprained her ankle after filming a dangerous canoe scene. However, her friend Shelley Winters claimed she exaggerated the injury as revenge against tyrannical director Otto Preminger.

Screen caps by Yvon Molostoff